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Freemasonry and the Old West

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The Old Charges Revisited

Gilmerton Cove...Edinburgh's Underworld Possible Freemason Link

In Cracking the Freemason's Code, Robert Cooper explains exactly who the Freemasons are and what they do. As the Curator of the Scottish Masonic Museum and Library, the author is in a unique position to reveal the secret history of this elect brotherhood. Prompted by growing public interest and provoked by the controversial stories that circulate about Freemasonry, this is the first time that he has chosen to do so.

Cracking the Freemason's Code is written with an insider's knowledge and privileged access to archive material, including never-before published images. It lays bare the intriguing symbolism, beliefs and history of the Masons, and explains the structure of Freemasonry, its ethos and connections to other secret societies. It also discloses the identities of famous Masons and the locations of important Masonic sites. This is the book that answers once and for all any questions readers may have about what Freemasonry is and the role it has played in shaping our society.

The Freemasons (by Jasper Ridley) are a subject of endless fascination. To the layman, they are a mysterious brotherhood of profound if uncertain influence, a secret society purported, in some popular histories, to have its roots in the fabled order of the Knights Templar or in the mysteries of the Egyptian pyramids. They evoke fears of world domination by a select few who enjoy privileged access to wealth and the levers of power. The secrecy of their rites suggests the taint of sacrilege, and their hidden loyalties are sometimes accused of undermining the workings of justice and the integrity of nations.

In this reassessment, Jasper Ridley offers a substantial work of history that sifts the truth from the myth as it traces Freemasonry from its origins to the present day. Ridley recounts the development of Freemasonry from the guilds of freestone masons, the master builders of the Middle Ages, into societies of "gentleman masons" and "speculative masons" in the seventeenth century, culminating in the formation of the Grand Lodge in London in 1717. Delineating the spread of the brotherhood to Europe, the New World, and the East, he weighs the role Freemasonry is supposed to have played in the American Revolution (some of our Founding Fathers were masons, among them George Washington and Benjamin Franklin) as well as those in France, South America, and later Russia. Ridley puts into proper perspective the contributions of "the Craft" to civilization over the centuries. Not a mason himself, he nonetheless refutes many of the outrageous allegations made against Freemasonry, while at the same time acknowledging the masons' shortcomings: their clannishness, misogyny, obsession with secrecy, and devotion to arcane ritual.

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown. The Capitol Building, Washington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon believes he is here to give a lecture. He is wrong. Within minutes of his arrival, a shocking object is discovered. It is a gruesome invitation into an ancient world of hidden wisdom.

When Langdon's mentor, Peter Solomon - prominent mason and philanthropist - is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend's life is to accept this mysterious summons.

It is to take him on a breathless chase through Washington's dark history. All that was familiar is changed into a shadowy, mythical world in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth...

The Man Who Would Be King. In 1880s India, British army officers Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery) and Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine) spend their time concocting money-making scams. However, when they journey into Kafiristan with the intention of setting themselves up as rulers, they fall foul of the local District Commissioner, and their plan does not quite go according to plan.

A grandly entertaining, old-fashioned adventure based on the Rudyard Kipling short story, The Man Who Would Be King is the kind of rousing epic about which people said, even in 1975, "Wow! They don't make 'em like that anymore". When director John Huston first started trying to make the film, with Gable and Bogart, the project was derailed by the latter's death. It was a few decades before Huston was finally able to realise his dream movie--and with an unimprovable cast. Sean Connery and Michael Caine are, respectively, Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnahan, a pair of lovably roguish British soldiers who set out to make their fortunes by conning the priests of remote Kafiristan into making them kings. It's a rollicking tale, an epic satire of imperialism, and the good-natured repartee shared by Caine and Connery is pure gold. Huston lets the humour emerge naturally from the characters, for whom we wind up caring more deeply than we ever expected.

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